Beat the Heat with Soft Sided Coolers

Portable and durable solutions for the traveling angler

February 18, 2020
Icon Soft-Side 24 Cooler
Icon Soft-Side 24 Jon Whittle

The new breed of high-performance, soft-sided cooler bags makes it easier than ever to travel in comfort, whether you’re packing frozen mackerel to a distant destination or just a few cold ones for happy hour.

Icon Soft-Side 24

Icon Soft-Side 24 Cooler
Icon Soft-Side 24 Jon Whittle

Built for hardcore use, the Soft-Side 24 has a puncture-resistant shell made of thermoplastic polyurethane nylon fabric, which is strong, airtight, waterproof, UV-resistant, and retains its strength even at very low temperatures. It also features fully waterproof welded seams and ¾-inch insulation throughout, with a purge valve to remove excess warm air from the bag’s interior.

YETI Hopper Flip 12

YETI Hopper Flip 12 Cooler
YETI Hopper Flip 12 Jon Whittle

Carrying your lunch to the boat? The Flip 12 is perfect—it’s rugged and leakproof, with a wide-opening top for easy access. The compact dimensions mean that it fits easily in any small compartment on board while keeping the contents cold for hours. The Flip 12 comes in four colors: black, river green, charcoal, and a fog gray/Tahoe blue combination.


Engel HD 30

Engel HD 30 Cooler
Engel HD 30 Jon Whittle

The 30-liter Engel cooler features welded seams—a key component feature in any soft-sided bag. Welded seams ensure that there are no water or air leaks. The outer shell is made of 840-denier fabric for maximum strength and abrasion resistance, while the front and back are laminated with thermoplastic polyurethane for an additional layer of strength. There’s also a vacuum purge valve to remove excess air.

Icon Soft-Side 48

Icon Soft-Side 48 Cooler
Icon Soft-Side 48 Jon Whittle

Icon uses a high-temperature, ­dual-axle rotation process to create its seamless coolers like the Soft-Side 48 with a uniform thickness and strengthened, curved corners that are able to withstand considerably more abuse than traditional blow-molded products. The seams are welded, and an air purge is also standard.

Engel HD20

Engel HD20 Cooler
Engel HD20 Jon Whittle

The HD20 from Engel uses closed-cell foam insulation, which prevents air from passing through it, greatly improving the thermal range of the cooler. The zipper is welded rather than sewn in to ensure that it’s ­completely waterproof. There’s even a built-in bottle opener.


Read our review of the best performance fishing shirts on the water.

YETI Hopper M30

YETI Hopper M30 Cooler
YETI Hopper M30 Jon Whittle

The Hopper M30 has a reengineered opening with a wider mouth for easy loading and unloading, and it incorporates Yeti’s exclusive HydroShield technology—a strip of ultrastrong magnets—rather than a bulky zipper. A pair of quick-release buckles adds additional security for rough-and-tumble travel. Three colors are available: navy, charcoal and river green.


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